Priest sues diocese; alleges persecution for reporting abuse

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A Roman Catholic priest has filed a lawsuit against his former diocese alleging that a bishop pushed him aside and lied about him because he called the sheriff on another priest who showed child pornography to a teenage boy.

The Rev. John Gallagher said Wednesday that Bishop Gerald Barbarito of the Palm Beach Diocese forced him from the church where he worked and publicly called him a liar after he refused to cover up for the other priest. The other priest was convicted following his arrest two years ago, spent six months in jail and was deported home to India.

The diocese denies Gallagher's allegations, saying Barbarito acted appropriately when Gallagher informed superiors of the other priest's crime.